Consequences of not cleaning a rifle?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Tyler Kemp, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

    Aug 10, 2006
    Until yesterday I had not cleaned my 6mm Ackley in almost 350 rounds. It shot a 3 inch group at 600 yards, then all of a sudden it quit shooting. I figured it was the fact that I had not cleaned the barrel in "forever". After I got home to clean the barrel it turned out the rings had worked loose and let the scope slip.

    I have a feeling the 6mm would have kept on shooting fine if it wasn't for the ring issues.

    I've never had a gun "quit shooting" because I hadn't cleaned it in X number of rounds, but people say you have to clean really overbore chamberings every 10 or 15 rounds. Why is this? Does it effect barrel life or fouling?
  2. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    With the rifles I shoot past 500 yards I clean every 30 or so rounds. Some are worse than others , but if I don't clean them I will notice a slight flyer once in a while. I just like knowing it is clean , kinda like changing oil in the truck.


  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    What Broz said...........................
  4. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    I've got rifles that will truly tell you when it's time to clean. Others seem to just keep shooting. Ultimately, what we all want is a rifle that will send the bullet where we want it clean or fouled. I look at it from both perspectives:

    If it still shoots, why mess with it? No need to clean. On the other hand, shooting a rifle until it looks like a combo of black and copper piping can be a real pain to clean when the time comes.

    My Hart bbl shoots really well b/w shot #6-7 through about 35-40, then goes to pot with known accuracy loads.

    On the other hand, I have a Shilen bbl that could probably go 200 or more rounds w/o cleaning but I'm just not going to do that. I have this thing about clean barrels right now and I've had to work very hard on some that were let go (not mine) for years with hundreds of rounds that just wouldn't shoot anything well. I don't want to go through that with my rifles.

    There's also something about shooting to the point where the fouling gets hardened and glazed to the bore where it may be almost impossible to clean. This is a result of shooting lots of rounds w/o cleaning. I guess if it doesn't affect accuracy, then don't worry about it.

    Doug Shilen stated to me a few years ago that he's got a tube that looks like a copper pipe but still shoots 1/2 MOA. (He gets free barrel replacements though).
  5. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    I know if barrels are left unshot and uncleaned for too long they will pit. At that point they are no good.
  6. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2001
    I hate cleaning but try to clean after every use. The problem is most of my shooting is high volume at little prairie dogs so they kinda gotta stay ½ MOA or better. I never use to keep track of how many rounds, just shoot till the barrel was hot and grab another gun and bag of shells. The last couple of years though I started putting the rounds in 50 and 100 round ammo boxes and have noticed that no two guns are the same! Though 350 rounds out of a 6ai is a LOT?

    22-250 Shilen 8 twist barrel=not more than 25 rounds! Nasty carbon ring that is hard to get out if fired past 25 and by 35 rounds god only knows where they are going to land!

    6.5-284=50 rounds is max accuracy. Again nasty carbon ring that is hard to remove.

    Savage lite 204=75-100 rounds. Again carbon ring the limiting factor

    Savage 243 Varmint/55grain noslers=150 rounds

    Savage 204 Varmint=175-200 rounds

    Custom 6-284 bench gun=Only have 50 rounds of brass and usualy dont use all of that between cleanings

    Cooper22ppc=only have 100 rounds of brass so it gets cleaned every 100 rounds.Last 5 rounds as good as the second 5 rounds

    Ebco 6BR barrel=only have 100 rounds of brass so it gets cleaned every 100 rounds.Last 5 rounds as good as the second 5 rounds

    Rechambered Savage 223ai=200 and it wants cleaned

    CZ lite 223= dont know as it has gone all weekend without cleaning or loss of accuracy

    The old Ruger VT in 223 is long past its prime but used to go 500 between cleanings....Maybe that why I only got 2500 rounds out of that barrel? Naw its because I shot it way to hot way too many times!

    The 6.5x55, 7mag and 308 Baer have not been shot enough between cleanings to know?